Saturday, May 30, 2015

Week 17 - Herbs

I can't believe how behind I am on posting about these challenges! I've already done 22 weeks of challenges, but haven't even posted Week 17 (even though many of them have been partially written for a while). Time to get this in order and up to date...

The theme for Week 17 was herbs, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do - a salad where cilantro (one of my favorite herbs) played the starring role. I had multiple options for cilantro-based salads, but on the day we went to do our grocery shopping for that week, there were major ingredients missing from all of them (including cilantro). It was a good thing that our meal plan for that week included another salad I had been obsessed with making, especially after finding a good bulk package of corn at Costco. That salad called for a lot of dill and parsley, so I figured that would be a good plan B for herbs week.

I based the salad on this recipe I found on Food52 for a dilled crunchy sweet corn salad with buttermilk dressing. It sounded so good from the description and the reviews were amazing, so as soon as I found all that corn, I knew I wanted to make it. My adapted version included the following ingredients:

- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 ears of uncooked corn, kernels scraped from cobs
- 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4-5 sprigs of dill, minced
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small sweet onion, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon juice to taste

I have no idea how much this cost (and am not going to try to figure it out) because it was so long ago and the receipts are all jumbled together, but it wasn't inexpensive. If I had to estimate, I'd probably say it was at least $10. For a salad that only comprised part of our meal, that wasn't a great price, but I really wanted to try this.

There was a lot of prep involved in making the salad, not including the dressing. I sliced up the shallot, and let the slices sit in a little bit of salt for about half an hour, before rinsing and drying them. After that, in a large bowl, I mixed together the shallots, corn kernels, diced cucumber, diced red pepper, diced green pepper, dill, and parsley, and tossed them all together well.

The next step was making the dressing. A minced up the onion and garlic for me, and then I added the buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and mixed it all together until it was smooth. The recipe said to pass the dressing separately, but I just thought it would taste better to mix it in. I didn't think it would get too soggy either, because these ingredients didn't seem like the type, so we gave it a try. It was good all mixed together. Once the dressing was mixed in, I added the feta cheese, mixed it around some more, and adjusted the seasonings to taste, including some pepper and lemon juice. 

Overall, this was a good salad, but considering the rave reviews, I was expecting it to be so much better. Maybe it's partially because it wasn't really corn season yet, but it just didn't have that bright summery flavor that I was hoping for. I also think I should have put more dill into it as it seemed light on dill for a salad with dill in the title. It was good and we would eat it again, but it wasn't my favorite salad of the month. (You'll have to wait for the next challenge post for that one.) I think it just needed something else to kick it up a bit, but I'm not exactly sure what that should have been. Something to ponder as we get closer to summer salad season!

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